Contemporary Circus with Physical Performance (Foundation Degree)

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How to Apply

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A unique course run in partnership with Circomedia - the leading centre for circus with physical theatre in Europe.

This course teaches individuals to be performers in the broadest sense of the word. Contemporary circus is a fusion of art forms and incorporates physical theatre and movement as well as traditional circus skills.

Why study Contemporary Circus with Physical Performance (Foundation Degree)?

The training has a pragmatic approach to learning for a vocational profession and a holistic approach to teaching each individual student.

It ensures that the demands and rigours of good technique are met whilst encouraging you to develop an innovative and imaginative approach to circus and physical theatre by expanding your range of knowledge of possible styles and approaches.

Course structure

The course comprises five main areas:

  • Specialist Choices (Acrobatics, Aerial, Equilibristics and Manipulation or Physical Theatre)
  • Performance, Movement, Voice and Creative Studies
  • Body Training
  • Complementary Studies, including Practical, Technical and Academic Theory
  • Practice and Evaluations

In the first year you spend six weeks doing all four of the specialist choices before choosing two pathways to follow throughout the remainder of the two years. Throughout you study core performance, movement and body conditioning classes.

In the first term strong emphasis is on skills training in these specialist areas as well as an introduction to physical performance and devising. Emphasis moves increasingly towards creative application culminating, mid-year, in students individually producing a project shown to an invited audience. A final ensemble production, shown to the public, concludes Year 1.

In Year 2, week by week, you present devised work and over the year gain experience in street theatre, the integration and re-interpretation of work, perform at live events (these often include the Glastonbury and Bath Festivals). Alongside these, you gain a wide background understanding to the styles, influences and genres underlying their practical work and the technical knowledge needed to stage work.

The second year aims to broaden your range of styles, techniques and understanding, helping you to reinterpret work through different mediums and for different audiences whilst allowing you not only to build up a diverse portfolio of work but to create a specific act or piece of work over an extended period. The course will also build on your knowledge of the performing arts sector to understand how to promote and stage your own work and to manage yourselves. This will also include some introductory 'teacher training'.


Year 1 Modules

  • Technique and Conditioning - The programme’s main physical training.
  • Context – Critical theory and Reflection - This module considers performance generally and in particular circus performance in order to discover the meanings inherent to others’ and your own work.
  • Creativity and Devising – This module gives you the opportunity to experiment and try out a range of devising tools in a variety of ways.
  • Integration – In this module, you receive a theme to work with. You experience a range of workshops and opportunities for experimenting with integrating your specialist skills with theatre techniques.


Year 2 Modules

  • Ensemble Work – In this module you work in groups to produce, first, a piece of site-specific performance work.
  • Performance Portfolio – This module gives you the opportunity to create, polish and/or develop a range of performance pieces into a collection of ‘acts’ for a variety of different audiences and/or markets.
  • Context - Professional –This module introduces you to some of the essential skills and tools necessary to becoming an entrepreneurial self-starter in the professional world of circus.
  • Major Performance Project – In this module you produce a well-developed and polished piece of work for the stage.

After successful completion of this course, you may wish to apply to progress to the third year of an associated honours degree course. In the event of insufficient places being available to accommodate all Foundation Degree students who wish to progress, there will be a selection process based on achievement during the Foundation Degree, supplemented by audition and interview as appropriate, and will be subject to satisfactory academic references. 

Course assessment

You are assessed in various ways to examine your range of abilities and skills. You are set course work, assessed through public performances, and creative project development, artistic and theoretical presentations, written feedback and reflection, personal training logs, practical tests, research and some essay work.

The philosophy behind this course is that minds and personalities must be developed as much as bodies.

You will be prepared for work in a variety of settings such as theatre, circus and festivals. The emphasis is on creating and devising new work in this new and evolving medium.

Teaching methods

You will experience a mix of practical classes, formal lectures, small group tutorials, one to one tutorials, supervised practice sessions and visits from external specialists. In addition students will each week devise and perform presentations to each other for tutor and peer feedback.

Application method

All applications are via UCAS.

Regretfully we are currently unable to accept applicants needing a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK onto this course at this time.

Course enquiries

Contact Circomedia on:

Telephone: (0117) 9477288.

Entry requirements

180-220 UCAS Tariff points with minimum 80 points from drama, dance or theatre studies.

Entry is by audition only.

Career opportunities

Circomedia has a high success rate of individuals finding professional work. Circomedia runs an agency which employs a high proportion of ex-students both as performers and as workshop leaders. Students have gone on to work solo, set up their own schools and companies, perform on TV and film as well as teaching.


What students say...

For more information about Circomedia and the student experience please click here